It appears the Buffalo Sabres have found their backup goalie. According to Michael Russo of the Star Tribune, Chad Johnson, who played for the Sabres in 2015-2016 is likely returning to the blue and gold.
Hearing free-agent goalie Chad Johnson very likely returning to the #sabres
— Michael Russo (@Russostrib) June 28, 2017
Last season, Johnson appeared in 36 games with the Calgary Flames, posting an 18-15-1 record along with a .910 save percentage and 2.59 goals against average. The year prior, Johnson was a solid, steady backup for the Sabres, finishing the season with a 22-16 record.
Johnson is set to become an unrestricted free agent on Saturday, July 1. Even if a deal is already in place with the Sabres, he won't be able to sign a contract until noon on Saturday.
This is a little out of left field, but the more I think about it the more I like the move for the Sabres. Like many, I imagined Linus Ullmark was going to be the backup behind Robin Lehner to start the season.
If Johnson signs, that more than likely won't be the case. It's hard to imagine the Sabres bringing in Johnson and not having him in the opening night lineup in some capacity.
The move allows Ullmark another year to develop his game in the AHL, while remaining under contract the following season. New GM Jason Botterill has said several times that he plans on being competitive and taking the necessary time to develop players in Rochester. This move proves that, while also providing the Sabres with a very capable backup, who has proven to be a likable teammate in the locker room.
Botterill wasn't joking about developing/competing in Rochester. If #Sabres bring in Johnson, Ullmark gets another year to get ready for NHL
— Matthew Bové (@Matt_Bove) June 28, 2017